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Legislation hitch as CS ‘rejects’ bill

Parliament and the Cabinet are embroiled in a tussle over how a bill approved by the latter was disowned by the Cabinet secretary.

Former Trade and Industrialisation Cabinet secretary Adan Mohammed disowned amendments to the Cooperatives Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018, which is at its second reading stage.

Makueni MP Dan Maanzo, who triggered the debate, claimed that an amendment to the Cooperatives Act seeking to allow social outfits to join saccos could have been sneaked in after the Cabinet had approved the bill.

Maanzo sought the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi ’s direction after Mohammed disowned the amendments.

“The CS has disowned the amendments. Other sector stakeholders in the sector have also done the same. How can we move on in a matter which has no blessings from the parent ministry?” asked Maanzo.

Muturi said he was equally perplexed that a CS had disowned his own amendments, given that he sits in the Cabinet which clears such legislation.

“This is a serious matter which could even see the CS sent home for failing in his mandate,” he warned.

National Assembly Leader of Majority Aden Duale, however, dismissed Maanzo, and accused him of having interests in the bill because he was once a director of cooperatives.

Maanzo, in his defence, said the proposal to allow social outfits to join saccos was ill-advised and would be shot down by members by all means.

“Cooperatives are for members teaming up to save and promote businesses. Allowing social outfits will see the societies being bought out destroying them all together,” he said.

If passed, the law will open doors for social entities such as Harambee Sacco to partner with any other cooperative society, a move opposed by most MPs, who feel that it will kill the societies.

At the same time, the National Assembly found itself in more confusion after it emerged that two similar bills had been approved and passed through the first reading.

The County Pension Scheme Bill was first tabled by Duale last month, only for Charles Njagagua (Mbeere North) to bring in a similar Bill albeit with different wording.  The debate on the Cooperatives bill continues today.

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